What Can You Do for America?
The following is a guest post by Mackenzie Howard. If you are interested in guest posting at Geek Politics, check out the guidelines here.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Ă˘â€ťâ‚¬Deuteronomy 6:5Ă˘â‚¬â€ś9
This Fourth of July marks a significant anniversary for my family and friends. Last year on Independence Day, my best friendĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s husband was deployed to Iraq. The irony of leaving for war on that day was not lost on us.
IĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ve always had a huge appreciation for America, but when my friend entered the war zone, that appreciation became very personal. While politicians and political hosts bickered about bailouts and health care, he was flying over foreign soil defending the cause of freedom.
Oddly enough, IĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ve always loved politics. There were times in my life when I thought maybe I should even consider a career in it, but as of late, I canĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t say that IĂ˘â‚¬â„˘m that interested. I look at the world around me, and I become very disillusioned with a government who continues to climb deeper into debt and people who expect someone else to take care of them.
DonĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t get me wrong, America has made a lot of progress over the past couple centuries, but in many ways, it would seem weĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re regressing. When greed wins out over common sense and when apathy rules over ambition, weĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re in trouble. When God is tossed out of our lives and our culture, weĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re in big trouble.
I sat, rather disheartened, the other evening at a political dinner, where I wondered what I could do about this. What can any one person do to fix this mess? But then this thought came to me:
We can teach the children.
We can teach them about the values of forefathers. We can teach them about the principles our country was founded on. We can teach them about heroes who were larger than life, instruments of God, and warriors for millions unborn. We can teach them to work hard, tell the truth, and not spend more money than they have.
My parents taught my brother and I to love God, love people, and love America. Because of them, I have a huge appreciation for the country of my birth. They took us on road trips all over this country so we could charge the hills of Gettysburg, walk down Freedom Trail, and stand in the rooms where some of the greatest men and women in history lived and died and changed the world.
And you know what? It really means something to me. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s personal. I canĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t see a soldierĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s grave or read about George Washington without being overcome with gratitude.
If we really want to change America, we need to make it personal for our kids. We need to make God personal; we need to make our heritage personal. And when they are older, they will not depart from it.
The great thing is, if you canĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t travel all over this great nation to walk where these folks walked, you and your family can learn about them and experience them from your home. When I was little, my mother bought flash cards and taught my brother and I all of the presidents. To this day, we can recite them forward and backward. And theyĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re more than names on a list. TheyĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re distinct personalities who all played a role, good or bad, in shaping the nation we call home.
You can do the same for your kids. Read books together, visit interesting places, talk about the colorful people who crafted our nation. Pray for our leaders . . . when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
This Fourth of July, I hope between the hot dogs and the fireworks, youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll stop for a moment with your family and give thanks. I hope youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll salute a soldier when you see one. I hope youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll take a moment to learn something new about America, and I hope youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll stop to share it with your children. We have a fascinating historyĂ˘â‚¬â€ťI hope youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll make it personal.
This weekend, IĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll fly my flag on my porch, probably eat way more than I should, and give my friend a big hugĂ˘â‚¬â€ťas long as there are men and women like him, making it personal and defending our freedom, weĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll be okay.
Teach your kids!
On July 4, 1826, two of our nationĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s greatest leaders breathed their last. Fifty years to the day of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams whispered Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Thomas Jefferson survivesĂ˘â‚¬Âť shortly before he slipped into eternity. What he didnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t know was that Jefferson had already passed away just a few hours earlier. These two men dedicated the whole of their lives to America.